PORTLAND -- Local veterinarians warn that the warm weather is spiking flea and tick problems in the metro area.
Across the country, experts have been predicting that 2012 will be an especially difficult year for these pests on your pets, but in Oregon, the problem is already here.
Dr. Scott Shuler with Northwest Neighborhood Veterinary Hospital said he's seen an increase in tick and flea cases right now, compared to this same time last year.
Shuler said visiting parks and doggy day cares bring the highest risk especially now, because the warmer weather has inspired more people to take their dogs outdoors.
“The problem with Portland is, we all have animals and we like to travel with animals and we put them in new situations all the time. We take them to dog parks and doggy day cares to where there’s just going to be a risk. Most of these places are really very, very safe,” Shuler said.
He added most of the cases he has seen involved dogs that visited the Gorge.
“The frequency of ticks have increased over previous years, mostly out of the Gorge and Eastern Oregon and Washington,” Shuler said. He explained that when there's a mild winter and lack of freezing weather, more parasites and their eggs survive through the season.
“We're seeing an increase in the duration of both fleas and ticks. Predominately fleas year-round now, where it used to be more of a summer and fall type of problem. The most likely cause of that is environmental factors that have changed, probably the warming in the temperatures,” Shuler said.
He also recommended that pet owners use flea and tick protection for their furry pals, which work both indoors and outdoors year-round.